Japanese carmaker Nissan today took the covers off its upcoming compact SUV for India – the Magnite – in a digital global premiere telecast. The technology-rich and snazzy looking B-SUV will be launched in FY2020 in India, most likely around the festive season.
According to Nissan, thte word Magnite is a portmanteau of the words ‘magnetic’ and ‘ignite’. While magnetic highlights the design and the product attributes that will attract customers, ignite emphasises on the beginning of a new era that Nissan wants to bring in India.
Speaking at the reveal, Guillaume Cartier, Head of Nissan's AMI region, said: “We are not satisfied with our performance but one model can make the difference. “ Clearly, there is a lot riding on this compact SUV and Nissan will be giving it all the features to fight the competition in the compact SUV market. This includes cruise control, around-view monitor (like on the Kicks) and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with connectivity features.
"The Nissan Magnite is an evolutionary leap in Nissan’s global SUV DNA. With cutting-edge technology onboard, it will be a game-changer in its segment. A bold offering in the sub-four-metre category, we are confident that Nissan Magnite will redefine the B-SUV segment for the industry. The Nissan Magnite is made on the philosophy of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ and has been designed in Japan while keeping in mind the requirements and aspirations of Indian customers,” said Rakesh Srivastava, managing director, Nissan Motor India.
With its gently sloping A- and C-pillars, the Magnite has a crossover-like stance, which will make it instantly distinguishable amidst its more traditionally shaped compact SUV rivals. Exaggerated wheel arches add mass to the look and the sculpted bonnet also helps make the Magnite look ‘full-bodied’.
Styling is new-age Nissan. The peeled-back headlamps link the Magnite to the larger Kicks, while the sizeable grille helps establish a connection with Nissan’s largest SUVs. The octagonal design of the grille and large L-shaped DRLs are very Datsun, however. Interestingly, the Magnite began life as a Datsun project, but will finally make production badged as a Nissan. Chrome and red details embellish the grille, while the front bumper sports a rugged-looking scuff plate.
Nissan has not released further details, but you can expect the off-road tyres and the stylised wheels to be restricted to the concept only. 16-inch wheels are the norm in the compact SUV segment and something we’d expect on the production-spec model too. The chunky cladding on the wheel arches and door sills, blackened A-pillars and contrast roof, and chromed door handles are elements you can expect to make production.
Likely launch in India in January 2021
The Nissan Magnite will go on sale in India ‘within the financial year’, though Autocar India has learnt the model is scheduled for a January 2021 launch. The Magnite will be available with a total of four engine-and-gearbox options. The range will include a 72hp, 1.0-litre naturally aspirated, three-cylinder petrol engine available with manual and AMT auto gearbox options, and there’ll also be a near-95hp1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol unitthat’ll get manual and CVT automatic transmission options.
Renault-Nissan’s manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu will be the mother plant for the Magnite.
We’ll have to wait until January next year for more details, but expect an aggressive price tag for the Magnite. An expected ex-showroom starting price of as little as Rs 5.25 lakh will see it undercut its compact SUV competition.
Termed a “transformational product” by Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta, the compact SUV has a lot riding on it. If the Magnite Concept is anything to go by, Nissan India could just have its first big hit in a long time.
A lot rides on the Magnite
Nissan has a tough act cut out in the Indian market. In FY2020, it sold all of 17,976 units that gives it a meagre market share of 0.65 percent in the total passenger vehicle market which saw sales of 27,73,575 units. Within the Utility Vehicle segment , it sold 5,225 UVs, which gave it a market share of 0.55 percent, in a total UV market of 946,010 units.
Thus, a lot rides on the new Magnite. Will it act like a magnet and draw customers to the Nissan brand. We'll just have to wait and see.